Paul is wrong to suggest that the GOP should drop its push for voter ID
MADISON – Political parties that hope to be successful should pay close attention to public opinion.
Sometimes it’s wise to re-examine polices and platforms, to make sure they are in sync with modern voters.
But sometimes principle must come before politics, because right is right and wrong is wrong.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a potential GOP presidential candidate, thinks the Republican Party has been hurting itself by promoting the passage of voter identification laws in various states.
“I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go crazy on this issue because it’s offending people.” Paul was quoted as saying by Heritage.org.
If the idea of voter identification is offending people, that’s only because the Democrats have somehow managed to convince them that ID laws would disenfranchise millions of black and low-income voters.
In most states, a driver’s license or photo identification card costs somewhere between $10 and $20. That comes to about a nickel a day.
Most adults already have ID cards for multiple reasons. I would venture to guess that 99 percent of active voters in the U.S. possess some form of photo ID. The type of people who don’t bother with personal identification are not very likely to vote, anyway.
Meanwhile, there is more than enough ample evidence that voter fraud does exist, and in extreme cases can alter the outcomes of elections.
Perhaps the most famous example was the 1960 presidential election, which came down to Illinois.
John F. Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon by 8,858 votes out of more than 4.7 million cast in the state, according to USA Today. His margin of victory in Cook County was more than twice as large as it was in the rest of the nation.
There was widespread suspicion that the late Chicago Mayor William Daley dug into his bag of dirty political tricks to produce enough phony votes to give Kennedy the White House. That led to an investigation by special prosecutor Morris Wexler, which found evidence of “substantial” miscounts in 1,367 precincts, with problems including unqualified voters casting ballots, misread voting machines and math errors, USA Today reported.
Wexler filed contempt charges against 667 local election officials, but their cases were dismissed by a Democratic judge.
Steven Schiller, who was 23 when he worked on Wexler’s investigation, said “looking at the margin of victory, it’s very hard to believe that there wasn’t at least a significant likelihood that the outcome would have been different in the state.”
In Minnesota in 2008, Democrat Al Franken unseated incumbent U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman by a scant 312 votes. It was later revealed by a group called Minnesota Majority that at least 400 convicted felons voted illegally in that election. Did most of them vote for Franken, giving the former comedian the edge? We will never know.
In 2012, a young man walked into a Washington, D.C. polling station, identified himself as Eric Holder (the U.S. attorney general who lived and voted in that precinct) and was offered a ballot. When the young man suggested he show his ID, the precinct worker said “You don’t need it. It’s alright.”
As it turns out, the young man was part of a sting operation set up by investigative journalist James O’Keefe. Of course he didn’t vote using Holder’s name, but he certainly could have.
Elections are critical in America. Pretty much everyone agrees that the candidate with the most votes should win, and that the process should be fair and honest. Yet too many states maintain lax laws that practically invite voter fraud and other forms of cheating.
It’s important for the integrity of the process that voters are able to verify their identity with a photo ID. Such a system protects their votes and increases the likelihood of an honest, legitimate election outcome.
In the end, voter ID laws are clearly worth pursuing and fighting for. They protect the process we use to choose our leaders and govern ourselves.
If that idea somehow offends people, so be it.
Authored by Steve Gunn